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Foods -- Meat and Poultry

Why does chicken meat darken around the bones?

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Sometimes the bones and the meat next to them darken during cooking. This happens most often with young chickens that have been frozen. During freezing and thawing, blood from the bones moves to the tissue next to the bones. It then darkens during heating. Older birds have denser bones so it is less likely to occur in them. While the color is unattractive, the safety and quality of the chicken are not affected.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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